"Love to be real, it must cost - it must hurt - it must empty us of self."
St. Teresa of Calcutta
What does it mean to love someone? To love another person, is it merely feelings of affection? As Our Lord hung upon the cross, feeling totally abandoned by His Father, could we say that His love was merely feelings or rather a complete self-immolation, a complete self-sacrifice of pain and suffering? It was the latter. Love is an act of of the will, no matter the cost.
So many couples are getting married and so many couples are getting divorced; so many marriages are a wreck, and the children are the ones who suffer the most. I don't think we understand what love is because if we did, I know for certain there would be no such thing as divorce. If we truly understood what love is, a husband and wife would be for the other, "for better or for worse". Without God being the center and priority in the marriage and family, no marriage would last. It would simply not be possible without God. This is why so many marriages are falling apart, because God is not coming first for either the husband or the wife or for both.
The beauty of marriage is that the husband and wife are stronger together and can unite themselves more closely to God through their union of holy matrimony. If the wife or husband is struggling in any way, the strength of the other becomes their strength. They are "one flesh" and their union is irrevocable. “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.”*
"No we must help each other to get to Heaven."
Blessed Charles of Austria
I've witnessed marriages that were in such pitiable states. The wife disrespecting the husband and vice versa. As "one flesh" it seems fitting that the husband and wife should honor each other and do for the other what they would want for themselves. Isn't this the Golden Rule? "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Mt 7:12). Forgiveness must be at the heart of every marriage. Without forgiveness there is no peace. "Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ."*
My aunt told me that marriage is a "give and take but mostly give". Although this sounds a bit humorous, isn't this true? To give is to care and to care is to love. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whomsoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life."*It amazes me and is a constant reason to marvel at the love of God. Marriages are called to mirror and embody that same love. To give until it hurts. To will the good of the other.
"If a marriage is to preserve it's initial charm and beauty, both husband and wife should try to renew their love day after day, and that is done through sacrifice, with smiles and also with ingenuity."
St. Josemaria Escriva
Since marriages are called to be the domestic Church and resemble the Holy Trinity, they should be holy, pure and chaste. Husband and wives are called to live chaste lives. What does this mean if they are called to be open to life? Chastity is a virtue. Matt Fradd had written that chastity is “a habit of reverence for oneself and others that enables us to use our sexual powers intelligently in the pursuit of human flourishing and happiness." Married couples are to live chastely, not abusing the gift of sex but rather treating it with reverence and respect. To revere the other by understanding the dignity of the human person. To understand that the gift of sexual union is to be in union with God's plan for marriage.
To be happily married, we must be at peace with God. We must keep Him as center and priority. We must strive for chastity and purity in all of our thoughts, words and actions. The fruit of this will be a happy marriage.
St. Josemaria Escriva, pray for us.